A serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria.
A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
An early fan of this series, I bought the first book The Puppet Show from Goldsboro Books as a Book of the Month member. As a fan of crime fiction it really was a no brainer, but I thought The Puppet Master was a very strong piece of crime fiction and was delighted to know there was more to follow, now on book 3 the series remains strong and as with any good series the characters grow in depth and familiarity. You can read my review of The Puppet Show here, and it’s sequel Black Summer here.
The Curator is a fantastic piece of crime fiction, like it’s two predecessors, this book does not shy away from the gruesome, but with The Serious Crime Analysis Section investigating some of the country’s most serious crimes, we would expect nothing less. Poe heads up the investigation into three murders – initially only revealed by the presence of dismembered fingers left in prominent locations. What follow is an intricate and authentic feeling investigation, where Poe along with the reader follow the clues.
Accompanied by his computer whizz sidekick, Tilly – fans of the series will undoubtedly have a softspot for this fabulously quirky character who has some terrific one liners in book 3. The relationship between these two becomes more special as the series progresses and is one of many strengths of these books.
Set in Cumbria the author captures the hostility of the landscape as the team desperately fight to identify the killer before they strike again. With a strong plot which concluded nicely – recapping to ensure all loose ends are tied up, I found this book gripping. The very short chapters compelled me to keep reading when it was far to late to continue and the storyline was detailed whilst also being easy to follow.
For fans of crime fiction I would strongly recommend picking up this series, I always suggest reading in order, but with a separate crime in each book they could work fine as standalone reading if that is your preference. This is gritty crime comparable to the M J Arlidge (D I Helen Grace) series or the Helen Fields (D I Callanach) series, gruesome at times but well written and great, entertaining fiction.
About the Author
A brand new voice in British crime fiction, M.W Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle. He joined the army at sixteen, leaving a decade later to complete a social work degree and spent seventeen years as a probation officer in Cumbria, rising to the rank of assistant chief officer.
The first in the Washington Poe series, The Puppet Show, won the 2019 CWA Gold Dagger, has sold in numerous foreign territories and has been optioned for TV by Studio Lambert. M.W. Craven has been shortlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and an Amazon Reader Award. He is also the author of the Avison Fluke novels, Born in a Burial Ground (shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger) and Body Breaker. The second in the Washington Poe series, Black Summer was published in June 2019.
This is a blog tour celebrating the publication of Book 3 in what I am referring to the Washington Poe series although I suppose that would depend on whether you’re #TeamPoe or #TeamTilly, you can check out others reviews using these hashtags or #TheCurator. Thanks so much to Beth for inviting me to be involved and providing me with a finished copy of the book.